In my last post, W1702 – Easter Island Moai, I described the fabulous tour my girlfriend Carol and I made to the iconic South Pacific island of Easter Island, with it’s moai or stone statues around it’s coastline, despite the twin hazards of rough seas and the norovirus infection onboard.
After leaving Easter Island we had five days at sea before we reached our next destination, the island of Tahiti. All was well to start with, but overnight between the fourth and fifth days, things suddenly went downhill fast when I found myself needing to make rapid visits to the bathroom. Regrettably I have experienced norovirus before on a previous cruise in 2015, and therefore knew how extreme it’s symptoms can be. While fortunately this time my symptoms were nothing like as severe, and therefore I doubted whether I had actually caught the virus, they were sufficient to mean I was obliged to report my condition to the medical department using my cabin phone first thing in the morning.
I was told to remain in my cabin, and before long a nurse with protective face mask, gloves and shoe covers etc. came to see me. She took notes about my symptoms and checked my temperature and blood pressure, as well as feeling whether my stomach was bloated. She too expressed doubts as to whether I had the virus, but said that I still needed to be confined to my cabin for a day or two, depending on how things went. She gave me medication, and information sheets including details of a very bland diet I was to be restricted to while I was confined to the cabin. She told me I would automatically be cancelled off the shore tour I had booked in Tahiti, and would be refunded. All of this was all too familiar from before.
Apart from having to eat the small amounts of dreadfully bland food, the main hardship is the sheer boredom of confinement, not helped by the fact that on this cruise the new television system installed on the recent refit has never worked properly, and therefore it was not possible to use it to watch films etc. to help pass the time. Thank goodness that I had splashed out on a voyage-long WiFi package and had my tablet and laptop with me. The other huge tonic this time is that Carol phoned me regularly and helped keep me sane.
I went all day without any further rushes to the bathroom, and was encouraged that my confinement might be short this time, but then early evening that optimism proved too great, and I knew I was in for at least another day. This was sad, as the next day was our day in Tahiti, and I knew all I would see of the island were any views I got through my dirty cabin window.
I was therefore sat next to my cabin window as we sailed into port the following morning, and took these pictures, the last one being the view of the island I had all day:
Carol told me on the phone that she had not been very impressed with the part of the island she had seen ashore, but that one of our table companions had told her that he had liked the different part that he had visited. They had both found the weather ferociously hot, so maybe there was something to be said to being confined to a cool air conditioned cabin!
Fortunately I remained symptom free that day, and so the medical department told me on the phone that they would consider releasing me during the following morning.
We sailed late that evening for our next port of call, Bora-bora, which we were visiting the next day. As we sailed away from Tahiti I caught this snap of another cruise ship still moored up in the harbour:
In Bora-bora I was booked on two shore tours, a drive around the island in the morning, and a tour by boat to swim and snorkel with sharks and stingrays in the afternoon. My mid-morning phone call to officially release me came too late for my morning tour, so I was automatically cancelled off that. Unfortunately I was feeling very washed out and weak after my illness, and did not think it was safe for me to attempt the afternoon tour either, and thought I was better to rest in the cool of the ship and build my strength for our third South Seas island, Rarotonga, two days later.
As soon as I was released I did head up on deck however, as I had seen from my cabin window what a stunning lagoon we were moored in. Unlike the heavily built up and commercial Tahiti, this is what I was expecting from a South Seas island – palm trees, beaches and fabulous blue waters:
Talking to my girlfriend Carol after she returned from her tour ashore, she told me the island was as stunning as it looked from the ship, and I was so disappointed to have missed seeing and photographing it. I’ve decided to start saving now so that we can go back there one day so that I can see it for myself.
I felt a lot better after the day at sea after Bora-bora, and was all set to do two shore tours in the final South Seas island, Rarotonga. However the Captain came in the ship’s tannoy extra early in the morning we were due to arrive to warn us that due to rough seas and very strong winds it was looking unlikely we would be able to get ashore safely by ship’s tenders, and they would make a final decision when we reached the island shortly.
Heading up on deck with my camera, it was obvious it was hopeless, and sure enough a few minutes later the Captain confirmed we would just be sailing on by, and that we would arrive at our next port, Auckland, early. As we sailed pass I took these pictures of the island and the rough conditions:
So after the huge luck in getting ashore on Easter Island, the fortune pendulum swung the other way, and due to a combination of illness and rough weather, I had failed to get ashore on any of the three South Seas islands. Still if I had been asked before we sailed, I would definitely chosen to get ashore on Easter Island, so I can’t complain too loudly. I just hope Carol and I can return to these waters and islands sometime in the future.
Ahead lay five days at sea as we sailed towards Auckland, New Zealand, where we would now spend nearly three days. Our adventures there will be the subject of my next posts.
Postscript: A little while after we had sailed past Rarotonga, Carol and I went to join our friend Robert at breakfast at the Poolside Café. As we enjoyed the excellent food there, we were watching the water in the swimming pool swoosh from one end to the other as the ship pitched in the heavy seas. As the water hit the end wall of the pool it was splashing high into the air. Just as we finished our food, the ship rolled, and instead the water came crashing against the side of the pool nearest us, and spayed high in the air descending onto us. It was such a warm day already that it simply didn’t matter, and we just laughed – but on seeing how much pool water was now in our coffee cups we decided it would be prudent to move to a table further away from the pool. I managed to catch on my phone the wave that swamped us, and some others that hit the end of the pool: